Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to Sew a Pillow Cover with Flanges

As a part of our master bedroom makeover, I bought fabric to make my own euro shams (with some encouragement from Courtney).  Mind you, I’d never made euro shams before, let alone sewn a throw pillow, but with the help of some googling, I managed to figure it out and thought I’d share a quick how-to for anyone else wanting a quick and easy change for your room!
I have to give credit to Meredith, who posted a tutorial for the euro shams she did for their bedroom.  She made it easy-peasy! 
Step 1.  First, you need to decide on what size your pillow cover will be.  I was making euro shams, which are typically 26x26, so I started with that.  Then added a few inches all around for the flanges (I wanted mine to be around 2 1/2-3 inches wide), then added another 1 1/2 inches for seam allowances, so I came to 32 x 32.
  • Because I was using expensive fabric, I decided to back it with a less expensive twill.  I wanted an envelope closure, so I cut 2 pieces out of the twill that were 32 x 18 (I wanted the “envelope” part to overlap – 18 + 18 = 36 which equals about 4 inches overlap). 
  • {keep in mind that you’ll want to finish the edges of your back pieces, so make sure to include enough fabric for your seam allowances, too!}
{at this point, I was following the other tutorial which says to place your fabrics right sides together and pin around the edges, so I did.  Nevermind the fact that she was using curtain panels which already had finished edges, so I had to un-pin everything to finish the edges of my 2 back pieces.}
Step 2: (If you don’t already have finished edges where the envelope closure will be, hem those now!), then place fabrics right-sides together and  pin all around the edges.  {Tip: If your pins are perpendicular to the direction you’ll be sewing, you can sew right over them without having to remove them as you go!}

Step 3:  Sew along all 4 sides of your fabric (with right-sides together).  Make sure to  back-stitch a few times where your envelope closures meet as they will get the most wear & tear.
Step 4: Turn your pillow case right side out and press the edges {and anywhere else that may need pressing}. 
SIDENOTE:  If you don’t want flanges, you are DONE!  It seriously takes no time at all to do just a basic cover! 
Here’s what the back looks like at this point…
Step 5:  Measure out how large you want your flanges to be and pin or mark your line to sew.  {This is a good time to double check how large you want the actual pillow casing to be – I wanted mine to be around 25 1/2 inches, so I just made the flanges as large as they needed to be for my pillow to fit.}  I made 3 of these, and each one is just a tad different due to how much seam allowance I ended up using.  No worries, you can’t tell once they’re finished and on the bed!
The first pillow I made, I pinned all the way around for my 3 inch flange.  That took, so I decided to try something else for the remaining two pillows: chalk!  I just made little marks as I measured and connected them with chalk.  It wipes off the twill really easily (and white chalk on white twill can hardly be seen anyway). 
And, learn from my experience…
Wah, wah.  Thankfully I had enough of the twill fabric to cut another back piece. 
Wah. Wah. x2.  I finished sewing an entire edge before I realized my bobbin was empty and I had just wasted the last 5 minutes.  Then I couldn’t remember how to wind a new bobbin so I had to get out my manual.  Am I the only one who has to use my manual every time I sew?
If you can avoid the mistakes I made, you can have new pillows for your bed in about 30 minutes!  Ta da! 

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Maury @ Life on Mars said...

Oh my goodness, I'm about to tackle this same project next week and this is exactly how I wanted mine to turn out. I'm definitely using this tutorial. Thanks so much!

I'm a new follower! I hope you'll follow me back!

Courtney {a thoughtful place} said...

Amazing tutorial! You did such a beautiful job and the photos are great. I will post this tomorrow! Thanks girl.

Jade@How to Sew said...

One of the biggest benefits to learning to sew your own clothes is the fact that it helps you become more self reliant.

Unknown said...

WOW! Great job!! I would love for you to come party today over at

Unknown said...

those turned out great! Glad I found you; a fellow sister in Christ! I am your newest follower!

Lil Mama Stuart said...

came from Courtney's site - I definitely have to take my manual out everytime since I sew so infrequently.

Can't wait to see how the room turns out!

Unknown said...

This is a great tutorial. I can see myself making a few of these in the future. Saw you on Not Just a Housewife.

amy@winecountrymama said...

I saw this on Gluesticks linky party and thought they were so cute. Great Job.
PS I have to get out the manual
EVERY time I sew too

Kate said...

Hi! I love your pillows, what great fabric! I wish I could sew but I don't even own a sewing machine so I can't even try. :) Thanks for linking my Flaunt it Friday party!

PS: Do you do blog designs? Please message me at kateluvs2decorate {at} g mail

Brandi said...

Thanks for such a great tutorial! Love your fabric choice! PS. I have to break out the manual too while I'm sewing! Dang bobbin! Did you know they sell already threaded ones?

Emily [On the V Side] said...

This is GREAT! All this time I had envisioned flange to be this complicated procedure involving actually attaching separate pieces of flange all the way around... how relieved am I to find a manageable tutorial! If I can pull this off, you've saved me a bundle.


Andrea @ The Dawley Fam said...

These look awesome girl!!! Now I want to go make some!

Debra from Bungalow said...

This is exactly how I sew shams too. I have a little tip for you, instead of using chalk, just put a piece of painter's tape on the sewing machine as a guide. Line up your fabric and sew away.

Put the tape as far away from the needle as you want the width of the flange to be.

Unknown said...

Just found you via Tutes and Tips at Home Stories A to Z. I was on a road trip today planning out some projects and decided I wanted to make flange euro shams. Came home and saw this, and so now I know how to do it! Thanks for the tutorial! I LOVE your fabric!

Six Sisters said...

Thanks for the tutorial! Thanks so much for joining us on "Strut Your Stuff Saturday". We loved having you and hope to see you back next week with more great ideas! - The Sisters

Mandy said...

Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I'll be making some of these for my bed soon. I followed you over from Life On Mars. I'm your newest follower. When I make the shams I will be sure to give you a shout out!


Lynn said...

Hi Brittany, can you tell me the name/manufacturer of this fabric? It is perfect for an upholstered bench I'd like to make! Thank you so much!

ericaberryy said...

Thank you this is awesome!
and yes I have to pull out my manual each time i sew! lol

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